Quarterback Matt Barkley was signed recently by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 4th round in this year’s NFL draft. Barkley had been projected as a 1st round pick, possibly the #1 overall after his 2011 season at USC where his completion percentage was over 70 percent. Not only was his completion percentage high, but he threw 39 touchdown passes on 308 of 446 pass attempts.
It was a great season for any quarterback. However, USC had a lot of top seniors graduate and the team that Barkley had last season in 2012 was a very young one and not nearly as talented both at the receiver position and the offensive lineman.
Not only did Barkley have problems finding open receivers, he also had a lot less time to complete his throws. He was constantly hurried throughout the year and things weren’t helped any by the fact that his less than spectacular receivers weren’t getting open.
Still, Barkley passed for 3273 yards on 246 of 387 pass attempts with 36 touchdowns and completion percentage of 63.6 percent. The drop off was enough to worry the NFL teams to pass on Barkley until the Eagles made a surprise move in selecting him in the 4th round.
It was a surprise move because the Eagles head coach Chip Kelley has said he was interested in having the Eagles quarterbacks be mobile. In drafting the pocket passer Barkley, it kind of went against what Kelley had been saying. But needless to say, Kelley saw what kind of athlete Barkley was and he didn’t want to pass on him.
Barkley is compared to Tom Brady of the New England Patriots in his throwing style and arm strength. Brady didn’t have the strongest arm coming out of Michigan over a decade ago, but he was highly accurate with his passes, a great athlete and with a good enough arm to make the short to medium throws with a high degree of accuracy.
If you watch Brady plays, he doesn’t throw deep all that often. Most of his throws are short to medium stuff but he’s so good because of his accuracy. The Patriots feel it’s worth it to let Brady pass on every down rather than having him hand it off a lot because of how accurate he is. You can depend on him connecting with a 6-15 yard completion on almost every play.
Barkley is the same way. He connects with all the short to medium passes and he doesn’t miss often. I’d be surprised if Barkley doesn’t take the starting job from Michael Vick by the start of the season this year because Kelly will see what he has in Barkley and won’t want to waste him by keeping him on the bench.